Screening and
Interviewing
TAX-AIDE
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
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Objectives
● Understanding how Intake Sheet (Form
13614-C) should be completed
● Conducting an effective interview with
taxpayer to confirm and correct
information on Intake Sheet
● Using effective interview techniques to
probe and secure information to prepare
a complete and accurate return
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
2
Screening and Interviewing
● Preparation of tax return does not begin
until a thorough screening and interview
has taken place!

Form 13614-C – Intake Sheet

Ensuring return is in scope

Probing to resolve tax issues

Exercising due diligence
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
3
Engage the Taxpayer
● Put taxpayers at ease
● Be positive and friendly – build rapport

Introduce yourself with a smile and a
handshake

Engage in small talk
● This is not an adversarial relationship
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
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Effective Interviewing
● Speak clearly, simply, and loud enough
● Reassure taxpayers (“I understand”)
● Ask effective questions, i.e., probing and
open-ended
● Use active listening skills
● Allow the taxpayers time to respond
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
5
Effective Interviewing (cont)
● Let taxpayers explain in their own words
● Paraphrase to show understanding
● Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know –
let me check”
● Involve the taxpayers
● Explain to taxpayers what will happen
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
6
Explain The Steps
● Review taxpayers’ situation – answer
any questions
● Organize supporting documents
● Prepare return
● Initial review of return
● Quality Review
● Wrap-up: print copies, signatures, etc.
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
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IRS Intake/Interview Sheet –
Form 13614-C
● Required starting point for taxpayers –
complete Form 13614-C

Basic information preparer needs to
complete tax return

Taxpayers fill out, but volunteers may
assist
● Preparer’s starting point with taxpayers
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
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Note…
● If the site has a Client Facilitator, the
Client Facilitator can ensure that Intake
Sheet is completed before release to Tax
Preparer
● Tax Preparer must

Review all answers

Ask appropriate questions to verify
accuracy of all information
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
9
First Step – Screen for Eligibility
● Confirm identity of taxpayers with photo
ID

LC approval required for exemptions,
should be very rare

Personal verification of ID by counselor
● Confirm Social Security or other
taxpayer identification number
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
10
Taxpayer Identification Number
● Best – Social Security card or ITIN (Individual
Taxpayer Identification Number) letter
● Alternatives

Other documents issued by Social Security
Administration such as SSA-1099 or Social
Security Administration letter -OR-

All docs with matching name and SSN plus
TaxWise carry-forward of last year’s return all
match
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
11
Screen for Eligibility
● Review Intake/Interview & Quality
Review Sheet for any out of scope items
● Sort taxpayers’ documents for sources of
income and expenses



Note: verify tax year
Review for any out of scope items
Begin interview process
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
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Begin the Interview Process
● Stress to taxpayers that

It’s their return and they are responsible
for accuracy of all data provided

They must have accurate and complete
records if audited by IRS
● Review Intake Sheet and confirm/clarify
all Yes, No or Unsure answers
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
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Begin the Interview Process
● Update Intake Sheet with all missing or
corrected information
● Add notes on Intake Sheet during
interview to help Quality Reviewer
determine if return is accurate
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
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NTTC Training – 2014
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NTTC Training – 2014
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NTTC Training – 2014
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Probing Interview Techniques
● Engage taxpayers in a conversation to
clarify their answers and identify other
tax issues that may affect tax return
● Verify any issue that is not clear, ask
more questions until you are satisfied
you have all the facts
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
18
Probing Interview Technique
● Verify and clarify information which
appears to have changed from last
year’s tax return
● Verify that taxpayer has all needed
documents
● Verify accuracy of documents and
receipts
● Use due diligence
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
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Due Diligence Is…
● Asking sufficient and thorough questions to
ensure accuracy and completeness of tax
return -AND● Verifying accuracy of documents presented
OR determining when to rely on, in good
faith and without verification of, taxpayer’s
oral/handwritten testimony -AND● Ensuring a second person quality review
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
20
Due Diligence (cont)
● Tax Preparer must ask questions if
information furnished appears to be
incorrect, inconsistent, or incomplete
● Tax Preparer may not ignore
information furnished to, or actually
known, by him/her
● Counselors must not KNOWINGLY
prepare false returns!
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
21
Relying on Good Faith
● Good Faith is relying on oral/
handwritten testimony from taxpayer
that is ordinary, necessary and
reasonable

Taxpayer has established credibility – a
returning customer who has forgotten to
bring a receipt

The dollar amount is insignificant
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
22
After the Interview: Four Options
1. Begin to prepare taxpayer’s return
2. Advise taxpayer to bring missing documents
another day; help set up an appointment
3. Hand off to another Counselor if not in your
“comfort zone”
4. Advise taxpayer that return is out of scope and
why


TAX-AIDE
Discuss situation with Local Coordinator/other Tax
Preparers first
Return intake form and all other documents to
taxpayers
NTTC Training – 2014
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Screening and Interviewing
Questions…
Comments…
TAX-AIDE
NTTC Training – 2014
24
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05 Screening and Interviewing